Avio Aero is a major protagonist of the main European research programs focused on building the aviation engines of the future. Led by its Engineering team, our company continues to work on developing innovative technology to enable new engine architecture that will improve current aviation propulsion solutions.
Among the major European Research Project , there is Clean Sky : a far-reaching aggregator of companies, research centers and universities from all over Europe, which runs numerous different projects, one of which is the SAGE program (standing for Sustainable Aero Green Engine), which is in turn divided into 6 sub-programs. Our engineers are working to offer the most innovative solutions within two of these sub-programs: SAGE4 (turbofan ducted engine, i.e. with the fan inside the nacelle) and SAGE2 (unducted engine, i.e. open rotor system with fan outside the nacelle).
The strategic roadmap for aviation research, development and innovation, developed by ACARE, dictates the requisites and the rhythm of the applied research: namely the evolution of propulsion systems in order to reduce aviation gas and acoustic emissions by 2020 and 2050.
For this purpose, one of the proposed CS architecture involves the separation of the speeds of the Power Turbine and of the FAN, thus allowing their respective optimization, i.e. a Fan that is slower and therefore more effective and less noisy, and a Turbine that runs at high-speed, and therefore offers greater efficiency and smaller number of stages (e.g. from 7 down to 3) with consequent reductions in weight, bulk and manufacturing and maintenance costs. In this context, Avio Aero has developed a power transmission system based on its proprietary Aviodrive architecture for SAGE 2 and 4.
More in details, for SAGE4 Avio Aero has not only developed the transmission system, but has also coordinated the development of a testing rig, finalized to validate enabling technologies and the architecture of the transmission system.
The need to construct such a testing rig emerged in 2012, with the launch of a research competition worth 3.2 million Euros which was eventually awarded to the Get Future project, implemented by a Consortium made up of the University of Pisa and two SMEs called Catarsi and AM Testing. As of today, the rig is housed in a laboratory of the University of Pisa (Scalbatraio), located inside the natural park of San Rossore, and is currently running.
The unit thus developed has become a strategic asset for our company, since it allows us to test all characteristics of transmission performance in a fully simulated situation. The possibility of testing power transmission so thoroughly, in preparation for the geared engines of the future, is currently a European peak of excellence.
The success of the testing unit project was achieved thanks to the full participation of all the partners involved, who have all undoubtedly benefitted from it through the extension of their specific areas of expertise.
What’s next? The Get Future project will conclude at the end of September, with the completion of the test campaign needed to validate the SAGE4 power transmission architecture. By the end of 2016, the SAGE 2 power transmission gear box, delivered on June to the partner Safran Aircraft Engine, will be installed on the Open Rotor Demonstrator for the ground test campaign.
After that dates, tests will continue in the ambit of Clean Sky 2 (the second stage of the mega-program), with the aim of completing the technological maturation of the product solutions , to be applied on possible future development programs.
We’ll keep you informed!Author: Stefano Rostagno